From the school nurse: Dress appropriately for dropping temps

With temperatures dropping as the winter settles in, the Goshen Central School District wants to remind students and parents about the danger of not dressing appropriately for the weather.

Frostbite can settle into exposed skin very quickly in cold, windy conditions, so it is important for students to wear the appropriate clothing when waiting for a school bus or walking to school. Risk increases as air temperature fall below 5 F (minus 15 C), even with low wind speeds. In wind chill of minus 16.6 F (minus 27 C), frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 30 minutes. That means your children should be wearing a hat, coat, and gloves at the very least, according to GIS school nurse Char O’Connor.

“Layering is the most important thing. It keeps the cold out most effectively.”

Students who do not wear appropriate clothing or those who cannot afford it can find winter weather clothing in the nurse’s office.

Frostbite can be prevented

Here are tips to help you stay safe and warm. Here are suggestions from the Mayo Clinic on the prevention of frostbite.

  • Limit time you’re outdoors in cold, wet or windy weather.
  • Pay attention to weather forecasts and wind chill readings. In very cold, windy weather, exposed skin can develop frostbite in a matter of minutes.
  • Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing. Air trapped between the layers of clothing acts as insulation against the cold.
  • Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments to protect against wind, snow, and rain.
  • Choose undergarments that wick moisture away from your skin. Change out of wet clothing — particularly gloves, hats, and socks — as soon as possible.
  • Wear a hat or headband that fully covers your ears. Heavy woolen or windproof materials make the best head wear for cold protection.
  • Wear mittens rather than gloves. Mittens provide better protection. Or try a thin pair of glove liners made of a wicking material (such as polypropylene) under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens.
  • Wear socks and sock liners that fit well, wick moisture and provide insulation. You might also try hand and foot warmers. Be sure the foot warmers don’t make your boots too tight, restricting blood flow.

Watch for signs of frostbite

Early signs of frostbite include red or pale skin, prickling, and numbness.

Eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Doing this even before you go out in the cold will help you stay warm.

Keep moving. Exercise can get the blood flowing and help you stay warm, but don’t do it to the point of exhaustion.